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Thread: Science is AWESOME!

  1. #616
    the unhappy worker waitressboy's Avatar
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    I don't... What the... Is he serious? How...
    Deepak Chopra trying to break the record of the biggest pile of bullshit said in an interview. It's amazing. For all the wrong reasons.
    When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.

  2. #617
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    Okay, so we already knew that ravens have empathy and can solve complex logic puzzles; now interestingly, they discovered ravens can effectively understand when it is possible they are being spied upon; iow form abstract or paranoid thoughts about other minds...http://www.wired.co.uk/article/ravens-theory-of-mind
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

  3. #618
    Alt Universe CliqueMember Spikey's Avatar
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    Trolls just want to have fun. Iow they are irl awful people too, likely to be psychopaths, sadists or machiavellians.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...91886914000324

    - 5%-6% of the respondents enjoy trolling
    - trolling correlated positively with psychopathy, narcissism, machiavellianism, direct & vicarious sadism.
    - about 41% of the people prefer not to engage in online interaction at all
    "Replies are a combination of nonsense, unrelated comments and inside jokes"‎

  4. #619
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    Nobel prize in physics awarded for discovery of gravitational waves
    Three American physicists have won the Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime that were first anticipated by Albert Einstein a century ago.

    Rainer Weiss has been awarded one half of the 9m Swedish kronor (£825,000) prize, announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm today. Kip Thorne and Barry Barish will share the other half of the prize.

    All three scientists have played a leading role in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or Ligo, experiment, which made the first historic observation of gravitational waves in September 2015.

    Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an experimentalist and made a major contribution to the concept, design, funding and eventual construction of Ligo.

    Kip Thorne, the Feynman professor of theoretical physics at California Institute of Technology, is a theorist and made crucial predictions of what the detection of a gravitational wave would actually look like and how to identify that signal within the data.

    Barry Barish, a former particle physicist at California Institute of Technology (now emeritus professor) is widely credited for getting the experiment off the ground. When he took over as the second director of Ligo in 1994, the project was at risk of being cancelled. Barish turned things around and saw it through to construction in 1999, and its first measurements three years later.

    In the end, detection required a peerless collaboration between experimentalists, who build one of the most sensitive detectors on Earth, and theorists, who figured out what a signal from two black holes colliding would actually look like.

    Ronald Drever, a Scottish physicist, who alongside Weiss and Thorne played a leading role in developing Ligo, died in March from dementia less than 18 months after gravitational waves were first detected. The Nobel prize is not normally awarded posthumously.

    Speaking at a press conference after the announcement, Weiss described receiving the phone call this morning as “really wonderful”. “I view this more as a thing that recognises the work of about 1,000 people. I hate to tell you but it’s as long as 40 years of people thinking about this, trying to make a detection … and slowly but surely getting the technology together to do it.”

    Weiss said he could not believe the team’s discovery at first. “It took us a long time – almost two months – to convince ourselves that we had seen something from the outside that was truly a gravitational wave.”

    Ahead of the announcement, the trio had been hotly tipped as potential winners and the choice of a discovery that captured the public imagination will be hugely popular. The detection of gravitational waves, announced in early 2016, marked the climax of a century of speculation and 25 years of developing a set of instruments so exquisitely sensitive that they could spot a distortion of a thousandth of the diameter of on atomic nucleus across a 4km length of laser beam.

    The phenomenon detected was the collision of two black holes. Using the world’s most sophisticated detector, the scientists listened for 20 thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes, one 35 times the mass of the sun, the other slightly smaller, circled around each other.

    At the beginning of the signal, their calculations told them how stars perish: the two objects had begun by circling each other 30 times a second. By the end of the 20 millisecond snatch of data, the two had accelerated to 250 times a second before the final collision and a dark, violent merger.

    Last year’s prize went to three British physicists for their work on exotic states of matter that may pave the way for quantum computers and other revolutionary technologies.

    On Monday, three American scientists shared the 2017 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for their painstaking work on circadian rhythms. The Nobel prize in chemistry will be announced on Wednesday.
    Science IS AWESOME. LIGO is AWESOME and demonstrates the amazing things humans can achieve which is much needed in this shitshow of a year. Well done to everyone involved in this AWESOME project!
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  5. #620
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    New frontier for science as astronomers witness neutron stars colliding
    Extraordinary event has been ‘seen’ for the first time, in both gravitational waves and light – ending decades-old debate about where gold comes from

    The collision of a pair of neutron stars, marked by ripples through the fabric of space-time and a flash brighter than a billion suns, has been witnessed for the first time in the most intensely observed astronomical event to date.

    The extraordinary sequence, in which the two ultra-dense stars spiralled inwards, violently collided and, in all likelihood, immediately collapsed into a black hole, was first picked up by the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Ligo).

    As its twin detectors, in Louisiana and Washington state, picked up tremors in space-time that had spilled out from the merger 130m light years away, an alert went out to astronomers across the globe. Within hours, 70 space- and ground-based telescopes swivelled to observe the red-tinged afterglow, making it the first cosmic event to be “seen” in both gravitational waves and light.

    Dave Reitze, executive director of Ligo, said: “What is amazing about this discovery is it is the first time we’ve got a full picture of one of the most violent, cataclysmic events in the universe. This is the most intense observational campaign there has ever been.”

    Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves a century ago, but the first experimental proof that space itself can be stretched and squeezed took until 2015, when Ligo scientists detected a collision of black holes. But this dark merger, and the three detected since, were invisible to conventional telescopes. As the stars collided, they emitted an intense beam of gamma rays and the sky was showered with heavy elements, resolving a decades-old debate about where gold and platinum come from.

    Neutron stars are the smallest, densest stars known to exist: about 12 miles wide, with a teaspoon of neutron star material having a mass of about a billion tons. The core is a soup of pure neutrons, while the crust is smooth, solid and 10 billion times stronger than steel.

    The 100-second hum picked up by Ligo told the story of how the two stars, each slightly heavier than the sun, approached their death. Initially separated by 200 miles, they circled each other 30 times a second. As they whirled inwards, accelerating to 2,000 orbits each second, the signal rose in pitch like a slide whistle.

    Two seconds later, Nasa’s Fermi space telescope picked up an intense burst of gamma rays, emitted as shockwaves rushed through jets of matter funnelled out of the poles during the monumental impact of the collision.

    What happened next is uncertain. A neutron star weighing more than twice the mass of the sun (the combined mass here) has never been seen before – but neither has a black hole so small. Theoretical predictions suggest an almost instantaneous gravitational collapse into a black hole is most likely.

    “Neutron stars are at this sweet spot between a star and a black hole,” said Prof Andreas Freise, a Ligo project scientist at the University of Birmingham. “When two of them collide, we expect them to immediately collapse into a black hole, leaving behind a bit of dust and stuff.”

    David Shoemaker, spokesman for the Ligo Scientific Collaboration, said: “It’s [probably] the first observation of a black hole being created where there was none before, which is pretty darn cool.”

    The observations herald a new era of rapid-response astronomy, in which transient and unexpected cosmic events can be observed in detail for the first time. When Ligo’s software picked up a signal at 1:41pm UK time on 17 August, Shoemaker was one of a small team at Ligo to be alerted by a ringtone on his phone reserved for when black holes or neutron stars collide.

    “My phone went off and I smiled,” he said.

    Within an hour, the detection had been confirmed by Virgo, a European gravitational wave detector near Pisa, the source of the signal had been triangulated to a small patch of sky and a global alert was triggered.

    Prof Stephen Smartt, of Queen’s University Belfast, was leading a five-day observation run of supernovae on the New Technology Telescope at La Silla, Chile, when the news came in.

    “We dropped everything and pointed at that bit of sky,” he said. “This was the most unusual object we’d ever seen.”

    Smartt’s team, and those on other telescopes, observed the faint new blob and measured its spectrum to assess the chemical composition. The blob was a fireball of radioactive heavy chemical elements, known as a kilonova, that had been blown out from the collision at one fifth of the speed of light shortly after the gamma ray burst.

    Previously, scientists had speculated that the sheer force of neutron star collisions would be enough to force extra neutrons into the nuclei of atoms, forging heavy elements like gold and platinum, but until now this idea was purely theoretical.

    “People have been looking for that forever,” said Freise.

    “This is the first real confirmation that heavy elements such as gold, platinum and uranium are either solely or predominantly produced in binary neutron star collisions,” said Reitze. “The wedding band on your finger or the gold watch you’re wearing was most likely produced a billion years ago by two neutron stars colliding. That’s pretty cool.”

    Earlier this month, three US scientists who played a crucial role in the development of Ligo were awarded the Nobel prize in physics for the first detection of gravitational waves. Shoemaker pointed out that two of the new laureates – and others – had been working on the project long before it captured the world’s attention

    “This kind of thing doesn’t happen because there are suddenly neat instruments,” he said. “It’s decades of work and people working together in a collaborative way. It’s quite phenomenal.”

    The findings are published on Monday in a series of papers in journals including Science, Nature and Physics Review Letters.
    Now that is FUCKING AWESOME! And I love the concept of "rapid response astronomy"!
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  6. #621
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    This is a few years old and I can't remember if I've seen it before, but I can never look away from a "universe to scale" visual explanation. It gives me vertigo and melts my brain a bit.

  7. #622
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    This is pretty cool:

    Kilogram Redefined. The Metric System Overhaul Is Complete
    On the morning of Friday, November 16, scientists and diplomats crammed into an auditorium in Versailles, a stone’s throw from the Sun King’s gilded chateau. Patrick Abbott, an American physicist, had flown into France for the long weekend. Forehead gleaming and blue suit jacket draped across his lap, Abbott watched from a packed balcony as a group of diplomats from 60 different countries voted unanimously on a treaty that intended to change global trade and technology forever.

    The vote re-defined the metric system for the first time since 1983. The new system completely upends the historical methods for setting standards using physical objects. Previous systems have used things like the notches on a metal rod to set a distance standard. Up until the vote, the kilogram had been based on a platinum-iridium cylinder stored under lock and key in France.

    Scientists have now scrapped all physical objects from the system. The units are instead based on fundamental constants of nature. For example, the meter has been defined in terms of the speed of light. This means that as long as you can measure the speed of light, you can create a meter stick; you don’t need access to a special object. Using this principle, astronauts on Mars could theoretically make a precise tape measure from scratch.

    These standards offer more stability because fundamental constants don’t change over time. In the 1960s, for example, a more precise standard for time made possible GPS technology, which needed to keep time to one-billionth of a second per day. With more precise standards for the kilogram, mole, Kelvin, and Ampere, scientists anticipate more technology breakthroughs. “This [is] the biggest revolution in measurement since the French revolution,” said Bill Phillips, a physics Nobel Laureate, from the stage below.

    Perhaps the biggest change was in the definition of the kilogram, which was the last remaining unit to be based on a physical artifact: the International Prototype Kilogram, also known as Le Grand K, locked in a vault in a Paris suburb. While scientists will still monitor and study Le Grand K, it no longer has its former scientific significance. Now, it’s just a cylinder with a lot of history. Starting in May, the kilogram will be defined in terms of Planck’s constant, a number that relates a radio wave’s energy to its frequency.

    The system was due for an upgrade, says Abbott. The French cylinder tends to gain weight over time. But still, he’s got a soft spot for it. “There are a lot of people who refer to the International Prototype Kilogram irreverently as a hunk of metal. They’ll say how outrageous it is for us to still use it in the 21st century,” says Abbott. “But the fact remains that it’s done a wonderful job for over a century. Yes, it has changed from its original value. But has it been a problem? No. I get kind of defensive about it.”

    And so he should. He’s allowed a little sentimentality: Abbott, who works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is one of three designated keepers of the US kilogram standard. The lab maintains the standard using a collection of platinum-iridium cylinders stored in an underground lab in Maryland, all replicas of the IPK. All scales manufactured in the US have to be calibrated using some method that traces back to these weights. Your bathroom scale was calibrated by a weight whose mass was confirmed via another weight, and so on, where the last weight in the calibration chain is perching in a bell jar in Abbott’s lab.

    A month ago at his lab in Maryland, Abbott showed me the weights. He handled the weights sweetly, almost like an owner tending to his pets. The first time he ever picked up one of the kilogram replicas, to place it inside a machine, was 12 years ago. The proper protocol involves grabbing them with a pair of tongs covered in soft chamois leather and coated in lint paper. “I was so scared,” he says. “It was like if someone had said, ‘Why don’t you take my Ferrari for a ride?’” The IPK’s home lab in France sells kilogram cylinders at around $85,000 apiece, depending on the price of platinum. Platinum iridium is an extremely hard material and difficult to scratch, but “it makes you paranoid,” he says.

    Abbott also has to monitor the weights, to check that their masses stay the same over time. In the lab, he has developed a nearly obsessive attention to cleanliness and frequently reminds his colleagues to change their gloves. “If your gloves are dirty, and you pick up a tool, whatever’s on the gloves are going to go on the tool. And that means it could get on the mass and change its weight,” he says. “You have to remember where your hands have been, and what they’ve touched.” His vigilance has kept the cylinders largely safe from mishaps. “One time I dropped one of the masses rather hard [inside a machine], and it fell over,” says Abbott. “I was worried about that, but it didn’t hurt anything.”

    He knows the weights well enough to have favorites: K4 and K79, whose numbers signify the order in which they were manufactured. “They’re just so stable over the years, so I really like them,” he says. “When you measure their mass, they really don’t change.”

    K4, along with another cylinder named K20, are the most historic items in the collection: both are 130-year-old platinum iridium cylinders that are replicas of Le Grand K. “They’re brothers, cut from the same bar of platinum iridium,” says Abbott. Periodically, he or one of his colleagues have to hand-carry them to France, to check if their masses have fluctuated against the one true kilogram. There, they reunite the cylinders, one per trip, with its brother at its home French lab, which compares their weights.

    Abbott has made the trip once, in 2011. “It’s a real cloak-and-dagger affair,” he says. He treated the kilogram like a precious carry-on. Using the tongs, he placed it in a custom-built container, a tiny covered platform with ungreased screws that squeak when you fiddle with them. Then he wrapped it in bubble paper and stuck it inside a camera bag. To keep customs and TSA officials’ grubby hands from opening the container, the director of NIST wrote him an official letter describing the mission to accompany the kilogram.

    On the plane, Abbott kept the kilogram next to him on the seat for the whole ride. He even took it to the bathroom with him. “I didn’t want to be the one known for losing the kilogram,” says Abbott.

    In the end, it was a meeting in Versailles that concluded the cylinders’ travels.

    Abbott’s day-to-day work won’t change too much once the kilogram gets its new definition in May. He’ll continue to monitor his weights—they’re still a practical way of calibrating other weights. The key difference is that they no longer have to trek back to France. The cylinder won’t need to go on any bathroom trips. Instead, Abbott and his colleagues will check the mass of the cylinders using a new machine called the Kibble balance.

    When you place a weight on the Kibble balance, the machine produces an electric current proportional to Planck’s constant. With Planck’s constant set, the kilogram will correspond to a specific amount of current in the Kibble balance. The promise in this design is that even if the balance breaks, they can just fix it—something that you can’t do if you dent a platinum-iridium cylinder.

    The keepers of the Kibble balance are now the new caretakers of the mass standard. And they are just as obsessive as Abbott. They’ve hooked up various parts of the machine to the Internet. When the machine is collecting data, Darine El Haddad, a physicist at NIST, regularly logs in from home to see how it’s doing.

    Many of Haddad’s Kibble balance colleagues have even gotten tattoos of Planck’s constant on their forearms. Haddad, on the other hand, showed up to Versailles with merely a week-old henna graphic on her forearm, soon to fade. “I’m very committed to Planck’s constant,” assures Haddad. “I just haven’t committed to a tattoo yet.”
    I guess "about a bag of sugar" just isn't accurate enough for these picky scientists.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  8. #623
    Administrator Ryan's Avatar
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    Limmy is going to be even more confused.


  9. #624
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    InSight should land on mars in the next few minutes.

    Live video from NASA here

    It's on Twitter of course! @NASAInSight

    This stuff is so EXCITING!

    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  10. #625
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    It's down and functioning!

    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  11. #626
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    Launch as seen from the Space Station


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